Grantmaking Focus and
Measures of Success

Community Food Advocates

Community Food Advocates

Levitt Foundation asks all potential and current grantees to use as a guide the Foundation’s stated grantmaking focus, desired outcomes, and indicators of success. Grant seekers are expected to identify and include appropriate indicators of success in grant proposals and in reports on progress. These indicators are a “work in progress,” and comments and suggestions from grantees and other colleagues are welcome.

Generally grants awarded by the Foundation range from $20,000 to $50,000. Currently the Foundation grants about $800,000 annually. Given the Foundation’s size and limited staff time, funding requests are accepted by invitation only.

Focus of Grants

Levitt Foundation funds youth-powered food justice programs and initiatives as described:

  • What: out-of-school time food justice programs, initiatives, and campaigns, with special interest in neighborhood-led and People of Color-led nonprofits
  • Where: low-income neighborhoods in the five boroughs of New York City
  • Who: young people ages 6 to 25
  • How: activities that engage and empower children/youth in all five of the following ways to:
    • Learn about healthy eating and socially-just food systems; and
    • Understand underlying causes of food system inequities; and
    • Take action to address food system inequities in their own neighborhoods; and
    • Build connections and influence beyond their own neighborhoods; and
    • Bolster their confidence and self-esteem, advocacy and leadership skills.

A goal is that youth will become educators and advocates within their neighborhoods and throughout the City. Most grantees are likely to use youth engagement and youth organizing strategies. Examples of projects the Foundation may fund include, but are not limited to: youth-powered urban farming, farmers’ markets, cooking, bodega partnerships, food waste reduction, counter-marketing campaigns, community organizing, education and advocacy.

Levitt Foundation will consider youth-powered initiatives that extend beyond food access, to encompass a broader range of food system inequities and their structural causes, such as intertwining social, economic, and racial inequities, citizenship status, and environmental injustices as they pertain to food.


Each grant awarded by the Foundation has agreed-upon outcomes and specified measures of success. Most grants address three or four of the following outcomes desired by the Foundation and one or two indicators of success for each outcome:

  1. Children and youth learn about nutrition, food systems and the root causes of inequities, and they practice healthy eating behaviors
    Examples of Indicators of Success of Outcome 1:

    • Increase in knowledge and understanding of food systems that affect their own neighborhoods and the root causes of inequities
    • Increase in knowledge and understanding of socially-just food systems
    • Increase in knowledge of nutrition and understanding of the connection between health and diet
    • Increase in frequency of choices to eat vegetables and fruits
    • Increase in ability to prepare healthy foods
    • Increase in ability to recognize advertising of unhealthy food and the dangers of predatory marketing
    • Increase in knowledge and understanding of food counter-marketing techniques
  2. Children and youth change food system inequities in their own neighborhoods
    Examples of Indicators of Success of Outcome 2:

    • Increase in advocacy for socially-just food systems
    • Increase in advocacy to promote healthy food and beverages
    • Increase in participation in food counter-marketing campaigns
    • Increase in activities in stores and bodegas that reduce the marketing of unhealthy foods
    • Increase in existing or new food outlets that offer healthier and fresh affordable foods, e.g. local grocery stores and bodegas, community gardens, urban farms, farmers markets
    • Number of pounds of fresh affordable food from community gardens/farms/markets sold or donated to neighborhood people
    • Increase in dollars spent/number of people buying fresh foods with government-subsidized programs like SNAP, Health Bucks
    • Increase in number of community people who buy at farmers markets/urban farms or other such venues, and who attend cooking demonstrations and other food-focused events
    • Number and percent increase in children and youth eating free school-year lunches or attending summer feeding programs
    • Number of pounds of food diverted from the waste stream
    • Number of pounds of compost delivered to gardens and farms
  3. Children and youth increase their influence in food justice beyond their own neighborhoods
    Examples of Indicators of Success of Outcome 3:

    • Expanded social networks (e.g. teach and exchange information and experiences with peers from other youth-powered food justice programs, as well as food systems stakeholders, policymakers, food producers, and others from different cultures, races, ethnicities, economic levels)
    • Expanded influence (e.g. serve as spokespeople in the media, meet with elected and appointed public officials, and participate in public meetings and hearings)
  4. Children and youth build confidence, self-esteem, leadership abilities, and advocacy skills
    Examples of Indicators of Success of Outcome 4:

    • Increase in confidence to stand in front of a group, make presentations and ask questions (e.g. teaching others, conducting garden tours and neighborhood food surveys, demonstrating cooking skills, etc.)
    • Increase in community participation skills (e.g. community organizing, advocacy, participation in public meetings, understanding of political/budget/rule-making processes)
    • Increase in other life skills (e.g. sales and customer service, advertising, marketing research, urban farming, cooking)
    • Increase in pro-social behaviors like setting goals, avoiding risky behaviors, and making future-oriented decisions